UNT is committed to continually improving facilities that enable faculty, students and external research partners to conduct high-level, solutions-based research in key areas. This infrastructure — from physical space to high-end research equipment to innovative technology — fosters collaboration and new ideas and is key to research that leads to discovery or enrichment in a field. Recent building and renovation projects — including a new Biomedical Engineering Building at Discovery Park, a new Genomics Center and an addition to the Art Building — reinforce the university’s academic and research efforts. In October 2018, UNT acquired the 50,000-square-foot former North Texas Enterprise Center building, now known as Inspire Park. The facility is located close to the 100 acres where UNT will build its Frisco campus.
Growing biomedical engineering program
The UNT College of Engineering is adding a new 26,250-square-foot building to its Discovery Park campus.
The state-of-the-art building will house the Department of Biomedical Engineering and enable distance learning through connectivity and audiovisual equipment. The new space will not only add more labs, equipment and classrooms, but also expand the research and teaching areas.
The facilities are scheduled to open in Fall 2019 and will contain two large research labs, three teaching labs and three classrooms, one of which will be tiered and seat nearly 200 students. Laboratory space will include a biomedical instrumentation lab; a biomedical modeling, biomechanics, and biomaterials (B3) lab; two optics labs; two cell culture labs; a senior design lab; and an 18-station open research lab. The cutting-edge technology will include an Anatomage 3D dissection table that will provide virtual reality human bodies for students and researchers, expanding areas of research and learning.
By adding the new building, the college will be better able to meet the demands of the rapidly growing department. The program has grown to more than 250 students since opening in 2014. The first undergraduate class graduated in May 2018, and the first group of graduate students were admitted in fall 2017.
Genomics Center sequences
UNT’s state-of-the-art genomics laboratory is advancing next-generation research in genomics, one of the fastest-growing fields in modern science. The in-house laboratory is located in the Life Sciences Complex.
Part of the university’s BioDiscovery Institute, the Genomics Center provides high-quality, low-cost DNA and RNA sequencing, as well as computational and statistical analysis of genetic data. Genomics, the field of DNA sequencing, has broad applications for the health of humans, plants, animals and the environment.
Slight modifications in the genome can result in developmental disorders and diseases or be found to create new, desirable traits. The data from the Genomics Center is assisting UNT researchers to develop ways to improve blood clotting, determine how probiotic supplements alleviate gluten intolerance and bolster the amount of useful oils a plant can generate. The researchers come from a variety of departments including biological sciences, mathematics, kinesiology, chemistry and engineering.
Recently, the center introduced robotics to assist with sample preparation and increase sequencing throughput and consistency.
The laboratory enables UNT to work closely with business and industry leaders, while also giving students the opportunity to work in one of the newest frontiers of science. Since opening in 2016, the Genomics Center has sequenced more than 3 trillion bases of DNA and provided initial funding and experimental design consultation support to more than 30 research labs at UNT.
New Art Building opens
The new Art Building housing the College of Visual Arts and Design opened for the Fall 2018 semester. The expansion project is scheduled for completion in Spring 2019 and includes the new four-story, 133,000-square-foot addition, plus a renovation of the 84,500-square-foot existing building.
These buildings will be connected by a courtyard and sky bridges. The college’s new home base will be a stunning series of world-class facilities, including a 19,000-square-foot, multi-purpose courtyard with landscaping and seating, at the heart of the building; a new gallery with extensive research and study space; 181 spaces for the delivery of educational programs; and archival, teaching and exhibit spaces for the Texas Fashion Collection.